Malaysian production of palm oil in the year 2003 continued to be on the up trend when it reached 13.35 million tonnes from 11.9 million tonnes in 2002, an increase of 1.4 million tonnes, or 12.14% (Table 1). Monthly movements in production for 2003 showed that production for the first two months of 2003 was lower than that for the same period of the previous year before picking up in March and exceeding that for the same period in 2002. Monthly production in 2003 started to exceed the one million level beginning April and this level in excess of 1 million tonnes was arrived at much earlier than that in the previous year, which started in July 2002. This level continued to be maintained monthly throughout the year. However, production for the months of October and November 2003, though more than a million tonnes, was lower than those for the same periods in the previous year. Unlike 2002, when production in the last quarter continued on the downtrend, production in December 2003 bounced back from 1.06 million tonnes in November to 1.13 million tonnes. From the increased production observed over the years and the resting of the palms in 2002 after overcoming the high production stress for the past four years, the palms are now set to increase their productivity. It is estimated that production in 2004 may reach 13.6 million tonnes, an increase from the production of 13.2 million tonnes in 2003 by 3%.
Keywords: MPOB PUBLICATIONS, MARKET DEVELOPMENT, PALM OIL & OIL PALM INDUSTRY-Malaysia, PALM OIL, PRODUCTION FORECAST, PRODUCTION STATISTICS, EXPORTS